Radio equipment: tests and procedures for correct placing on the market

Radio equipment manufacturers wishing to sell to the EU's 500 million consumers must proceed with the conformity assessment aimed ataffixing of the CE mark. An obligation that particularly affects manufacturers, the presumption of conformity is obtained by carrying out all the tests required by the various harmonized standards connected to the product.

Directive 2014/53/EU

Regulating the placing of radio equipment on the European market is the objective of directive 2014/53/EU. The so-called “RED” (Radio Equipment Directive) applies to all products and equipment that intentionally transmit or receive radio waves for communications or location, in the frequency range from just above zero up to 3000 GHz.

The articles of the directive define the fundamental requirements linked to a radio device and the general characteristics regarding electromagnetic compatibility, health protection and safety. As happens in the case of other community directives, the RED directive is accompanied by harmonized standards for specific technical requirements, and compliance with these requirements presupposes compliance with the essential principles of the directive.

Testing of radio equipment

Radio equipment, as is known, in addition to electromagnetic compatibility and safety requirements, must also guarantee correct use of the radio spectrum, avoiding interference with terrestrial and satellite communications.

In relation to this obligation, it is defined that a radio device transmits within the European reference standards and in accordance with the plans of the various member states, in terms of limits of frequencies, powers and transmission times.

Depending on the case and its specifics, various types of tests can be carried out obtain certification of radio equipment. These are divided into main standards used, including GSM, GPRS, GPS, UMTS, LTE, DECT, SRD, RFID, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi.

Going into detail, the tests - carried out by a competent laboratory such as Sicom Testing - can concern checks required by law, performance checks, measure of service quality. It is possible to proceed with the checks of interoperability with telecommunications networks, to the beta testing of the systems to complete - after in-depth analysis of the product - the drafting of the technical file.

Among other things, the technical file is responsible for containing the risk analysis, the installation, use and maintenance manual, the declaration of conformity, the CE label, the projects connected to the product (drawings, calculation, schemes and so on), suppliers and production control procedures.

Operators' obligations

On a general level, the obligations regarding certification of radio equipment are connected to the figure of the manufacturer. But not exclusively: the importer and the distributor are also involved at multiple levels.

The manufacturer has the obligation to ensure that the equipment has been designed and manufactured in accordance with the essential requirements; to prepare the technical documentation and carry out or have carried out the conformity assessment procedure. Among the fundamental tasks of the manufacturer is to draw up, or have drawn up, an EU declaration of conformity, affix the CE marking and keep the documentation relating to the product.

L'importer, for its part, must to verify that the manufacturer has carried out the appropriate conformity assessment procedure; has prepared the technical documentation, that the CE marking is affixed to the appliance and that the latter is accompanied by the required documents. The importer must also keep the EU declaration of conformity and ensure that technical documentation is made available to those authorities.

The distributor needs to to verify that the appliance to be marketed bears the CE marking and is accompanied by necessary documentation as well as the instructions and that the manufacturer and importer have complied with their obligations; ensuring that, when the appliance is under his responsibility, the storage or transport conditions do not jeopardize compliance of the product to the essential requirements.

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